Sunday 31 July 2016

Dark Music Review – Oblivion To You All

Dark Music Review – Oblivion To You All

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Oblivion To You All Artwork

'Oblivion to you all' is the sixth release from dark ambient project, Noctilucant, and the proper continuation of the story started on, 'Back to the Mud.' 'Oblivion to you all' sees the world now sparsely populated, this is after the apocalypse, when many humans have fallen and those that remain standing are left to deal with a world that has changed into something 'else...'
As someone who often, when sleep eludes him, imagines himself holed up somewhere with the shuffling undead making noises in the distance, I found myself instantly attracted to the concept of dark ambient album Oblivion To You All. Anything that is dark and atmospheric, with a dose of wandering menace is something that will have my ears prickling in anticipation. What I got with Oblivion To You All certainly fit that description.

In general, Noctilucant’s creation features relatively quiet soundscapes, more low rumbling and distant environmental noises than actual immediate threat, with a few exceptions. There are also tracks that deliver narrative via voices, telling the listener about the state of the world, or merely whispering furtive questions into the ear, such as “Did you miss me?”

My favourite tracks tended to have sounds that either put me strongly into the situation being heard, or at the least, grabbed my attention by their seeming diversion from the grim nature of the tale. One example of this latter kind is This Day Brings Forth Our Dismay (track 2). The track opens with the sounds of a projector trundling into life, backed by a wind-like swelling and rumbling. The soundscape opens out into a higher pitched “ah” sounding theme, almost like the backing track to a pleasant recollection. Towards the end, things deepen once more, finishing with the sound of the projector becoming prominent again. I don’t know what was being shown on the screen but to me, it might have been a video of how life used to be.

Another track that I really clicked with was Where Snow Remains and Life Fades (track 4). This is a very visceral track, starting gently with an almost underwater distortion smoothing the rumbling sound. A fluctuating tone takes on a chant-like sound. A wind-like effect whistles through abandoned snow covered streets. Near the midpoint, clanking and movement is heard, along with heavy footsteps and laboured breathing inside a gas mask. The footsteps seem to be going down wooden stairs and heading out to crunch the snow-laden ground. Sounds of life escalate towards the end of the track, the tones taking on the aspect of moans and cries on the wind. A very effective track.

The final track that I wanted to mention by name is track 7: Back Into The Hole Where I Was Born. After a single electric guitar note punches the track into motion, eerie high tones begin to rise and fall like a sparkling swarm of glittery observers. A drone sits in the background, soon to be joined by the howling wind as things get darker a short way in. Footsteps and gas-mask breaths fill the ear, followed shortly after by a creaking door and entry into another space. This space is filled with coughs and misery. The traveller whose head we are in begins to speak. He doesn’t tell a happy tale, and it ends with the ultimate kind of full stop which I won’t spoil here.

What we have in Oblivion To You All, is a dark ambient album that does a great job of painting a picture of a world in which things have gone badly wrong. I found some of the tracks to be a little uneventful for my own tastes, but I think that these simply made the ones that did speak to me stand out all the more. I give Oblivion To You All a solid 4/5 and recommend any music fan interested in darker things to go and check out the album on Bandcamp here.

I was given a free copy of this album to review.

Album Title: Oblivion To You All
Artists: Noctilucant
Released: July 18, 2016